“Grampa, tell us again about the ’80s!”
“Well, OK kids, gather round an’ I’ll tell ya ’bout my 190E Evo. See, in the ’80s—and even ’afore that—we cared about handling and performance, about how a car felt droppin’ down into an apex, about …”
“Grampa? What’s an apex?”
These very conversations are going on right now all across America. Kids these days, excuse me a second, I gotta go yell out the window, “You kids get off my dad-blumbed lawn! I mean it! I’ll call the cops!”—where was I? Oh yeah, performance. Nowadays car buyers are more concerned with connectivity, the kind where your smart phone connects with your car in new and fascinating ways. Contact patches and slip angles just don’t fit into the equation. Why when I was your age … hey, wait, where ya goin’? Get back here! I’ll call the cops! I mean it!
And so it goes. The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class was revealed today, and Mercedes spent almost the whole time talking about how great the MBUX was and how many interior electronic features it has directly from the big, expensive S-Class, and … aw, it just wasn’t like it used to be. Why one of my favorite drives ever, and this is after 37 years in the car mag biz, one of my favorites is still when we drove a bunch of Mercedes 190E Evo IIs across the Alps from Switzerland to France on some great roads and … aw, never mind.
The thing that sells cars nowadays, well, the few remaining cars even offered in a sea of crossover utility vehicles, the main thing that sells cars now is screen size. That TFT touchscreen on the dash that allows you to access a host—excuse me—a suite of features is what customers look at when choosing a car. The coming Byton electric SUV has the record, with a screen that sits four feet across, from A-pillar to A-pillar. It’s like a fish tank on the dashboard. Tesla has that 17-incher that is wowing all the techies. And now, here comes Mercedes-Benz with respectably grosse 11.9- and 12.3-inch screens on the new C-Class that’re connected right up to many of the features you could previously only get on the mighty, mighty S-Class.
In fact, the C-Class info started out not with engine specs or tire size but with a bunch of connectivity and screen facts:
Then they finally started talking about all the other stuff. The C-Class will come in two basic powertrain configurations: C 300 Sedan and C 300 4MATIC Sedan. Just those two, at least at launch, which will be early next year. The Europeans, as usual, get the wagons, the diesels, the plug-in hybrids, the All-Terrain, and even something as seemingly simple and basic as rear-wheel steering, none of which we get here. But that’s how it’s always been. The danged Europeans get everything. Hey, Europeans, get off my lawn!
The U.S. C-Classes do get (here we go) the first application of the new M 254 twin-scroll turbo four-cylinder with integrated starter-generator that makes it a hybrid. ISG uses a 48-volt onboard electrical system that can add up to 20 more horsepower and 148 more lb ft of torque. That gives the new C-Class 255 peak hp at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 3,200 rpm. That’ll launch the C from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and to a top speed of 130 mph.
The new engine is mated to Mercedes’ 9G-TRONIC transmission specially developed to work with the ISG.
All that sits in a new “cab-rearward” chassis that is longer, wider and with a longer wheelbase and wider track.
Inside, the design “represents the latest interpretation of modern luxury,” with highlights from the S-Class like new-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, better voice control and MBUX Augmented Video for Navigation. It’s not clear if the new C will get the cool head-up display from the S, but it will get some kind of HUD as an option, along with just about every safety acronym you can think of, as well as PARKTRONIC parking assist and enhanced ambient lighting.
Driver Assistance Systems include: adaptive cruise control, with route-based speed adaption and stop and go assist, active steering assist with active emergency stop assist and lane change assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist, integrated toll pass and a dash cam. And that’s probably not everything.
Because, you see, that’s what buyers want nowadays.
We should be able to drive one of these by the end of the year to tell you what that’s like, but for now, it looks like you’re getting a lot of S-Class for a lot less money. How much less we don’t know yet, but pricing on the current C-Class ranges from $41,600 to $43,600, minus destination and all that. Loaded with all the tech it will have, the new C-Class will almost certainly represent a techno-bargain when it comes out in 2022.
Crikey this is good. Call it home advantage if you like, picking up a Jaguar F- Pace SVR in Warwickshire within sight of the garages it was engineered in, and heading out into the Cotswolds on roads on which its dynamics were developed and signed-off. But I think it would play away pretty well, too. They’ve got it right.
Apparently the F-Pace SVR hasn’t really stopped being developed since Jaguar first put a 5.0-litre supercharged V8 in its big SUV in 2014. It went on sale as the SVR in 2019, well after the regular model, but was due for this update at the same time as the rest of the range. The changes are detailed but plentiful. The new bonnet, now without an uncomfortable shut-line across it, improves aero and allows bigger grilles, with more cooling for both the drivetrain and brakes (the same 395mm discs but with different pads).
The V8 is the same but adoption of the torque converter from the Project 8 means it’s now allowed to make its full 516lb ft in all gears. That, plus a reduction in aerodynamic drag, drops the 0-60mph time from 4.1sec to 3.8sec. I doubt you’d notice but three looks better, no?
What you should notice are suspension changes, to make the SVR more mature and rounded, without losing its dynamism, or while improving it, even. The adaptive dampers, roll bars and spring rates are unchanged but 70% of bushes are new, as are rear toe-links, front control arm links, rear spring aids and more. Stuff that people don’t pay attention to but would notice.
To recap, the F-Pace sits on Jaguar’s largely aluminium modular platform with a rear-drive bent. In the Comfort drive mode this 4wd car, with a centre differential and electronically-controlled limited slip diff at the rear, defaults to 70% rear-drive; put it in Dynamic and that heads to 90%. It’s variable too, but even in Snow/Ice mode it’s default 50% front:rear, and no more than 50% ever goes to the front wheels regardless of how slippy it is.
From a user’s perspective perhaps the most notable change to the F-Pace is that all of these functions, plus the rest of the comms and information, is controlled by a new infotainment system.
The electronics architecture has been brought across from Jaguar’s electric vehicle platform and, as in the latest Land Rover Defender, it has transformed the speed, functionality and usability to the point where the infotainment is as good as anyone’s. (Although that’s not strictly one-way; the mass adoption of touchscreens means some makers’ functionality has come towards Jaguar’s, too).
I also like this car’s level of tech: big round dials remain dials; there are two selectable stages for steering, suspension, gearbox and engine, no more. It doesn’t overload you with options and info. Call me an old codger if you will, but if I’m driving, there are only so many functions I can take.
And it drives really terrifically, with the caveat that this is a 2.1-tonne SUV, and obviously that brings a number of limitations with it. But name any rival: Alfa Stelvio, Mercedes-AMG GLC63 or Porsche Macan Turbo and the F-Pace steers, rides and handles with the best abilities of any of ‘em.
Flicking from Comfort to Dynamic drive modes is one quick of a switch on a not-overloaded console and you’d happily use both on a varied drive in the UK. They’ve clearly been selected by engineers, not marketeers.
I don’t like tend to feel comfortable with ‘driver’s’ SUVs, figuring that a 4×4 is happier being a 4×4 and a sports car more contented as a sports car. But I get why people want both and they really shouldn’t overlook the Jaguar. If its all- weather capability was enough for me, I’d take one over all others, or a Range Rover Sport, or an Aston Martin DBX.
Does it feel very 2021, though? A Jaguar with a 542bhp supercharged V8 launched two weeks after Jaguar announced its future was all-electric?
I guess not, but as hobbyists one day we’ll remember the slight ridiculousness of yesterday’s things, and fondly recall the gems. I think this’ll be one of them.
Porsche will soon expand the Taycan line-up with a new, more practical Cross Turismo estate variant. The new EV is due to make its official debut next month, and to give a taste of what’s to come, the brand has released some fresh teaser images of the car.
The new Porsche Taycan Cross will be available to order from its official launch date on 4 March. It’ll be on UK roads this summer, when Porsche hopes the extra body style will help it steal a march over its EV competitors from Tesla and Audi.
Porsche’s official “spy shots” pretty much reveal the Taycan Cross Turismo’s styling in full. Up front, it looks identical to the saloon, with a pair of slender LED headlamps set into hollowed-out “eye-sockets.” The charging port hasn’t moved, either – it’s still located behind the front left wheel.
However, it’s all change from the B-pillars backwards. The roofline extends the full length of the car, like that on the Panamera Sport Turismo. The obvious benefit will be an increase in practicality, with rear-seat headroom expected to increase over the standard car.
The estate’s boot space should also swell to around 500 litres – compared to the standard Taycan’s 447-litre capacity – while the slightly raised suspension should allow the EV to crest speed bumps more gracefully. However, the extra practicality will come at a premium, as the price of the Cross Turismo will likely increase by around £5,000 over the standard car.
Stefan Weckbach, head of the Taycan line-up, explained the brief of the new car saying: “With the Taycan Cross Turismo, we wanted to offer a little bit more space, a little more flexibility and versatility. We developed a completely new roofline, fitted with roof rails, a more generous second row and bigger trunk, all to make a car that is perfect for an active lifestyle. A car that is perfect for both an urban environment and the countryside.”
Weckbach also outlined the thinking behind the new car’s chassis tweaks, stating: “In order to enable it to handle light off-roading and gravel roads, we increased the ground clearance. And we optimised our suspension system so the Cross Turismo comes with a CUV (cross utility vehicle) specific driving mode. This makes sure it does well on gravel roads in terms of stability, performance, and dynamics.”
The decision to launch a Taycan estate means the EV’s portfolio will morph into a near direct mirror of the Panamera line-up. Porsche will also be the first manufacturer to enter the performance estate segment with a pure-electric model, with this new Taycan squaring up to time-served competitors such as the Audi RS 6 Avant and Mercedes-AMG E 63 estate.
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo: powertrains
Despite the cosmetic changes, the Cross Turismo will stick with the Taycan’s powertrain options. The cheapest variant, badged 4S, will feature a 79kWh battery pack and two electric motors, for a combined output of 429bhp (or a temporary maximum of 523bhp with Porsche’s “overboost” mode engaged).
Turbo and Turbo S models will both feature Porsche’s larger 93kWh battery pack – and each will come with a substantial increase in performance. Both cars develop should 617bhp under normal running conditions, but thanks to Porsche’s overboost function, the Turbo tops out at 671bhp, while the Turbo S can generate a maximum of 751bhp.
However, it’s highly unlikely that the Cross Turismo will be available with the Taycan’s 322bhp entry-level rear-wheel drive powertrain. In keeping with its pseudo-SUV aspirations, Porsche has said that the new EV will only be available with two electric motors and four-wheel drive.
The Cross Turismo is the next step in an ambitious assault on the electric vehicle market from Porsche. Following in this car’s footsteps will be a fully electric version of the company’s biggest seller – the Macan.
Due to arrive in 2022, the SUV will go electric only, with the current petrol model being sold alongside it until customer demand falls enough for Porsche to remove it from sale. Bosses have discussed taking a similar approach with the next-generation Cayenne, too.
The Sedona is dead, long live the Carnival. Kia has confirmed that its new minivan will get a name change, adopting the global Carnival moniker and dropping the Sedona nameplate that’s been in use in the U.S. for the previous three generations of this van.
We’ve already seen the global version of the new 2022 Kia Carnival, and we’ll get full U.S. details on February 23, when the 2022 Carnival makes its official debut on our shores via livestream. A teaser image shows that it looks very similar to the version we’ve already seen, and the darkened grille suggests that this could be the first Kia model in the U.S. with the company’s new logo.
A filing on the EPA site shows that the 2022 Carnival will come with a single powertrain in the U.S., a 3.5-liter V-6 and an eight-speed automatic. That means it will likely offer more power than the outgoing Sedona, which has a 3.3-liter V-6. Its fuel economy also improves from 21 mpg combined to 22 mpg combined.
The 2022 Kia Carnival also looks to have a far more modern interior with a larger touchscreen infotainment system and nicer materials. It’s likely that the available second-row lounge seats will make their way to the U.S. version, although we don’t think we’ll see anything like the ultra-luxury Korea-market model with curtains and an air purifier on our shores.
Look for more details to come next week as we learn more about the U.S. specs and information about the 2022 Carnival. It should go on sale here later this year.
We are the exclusive dealer / distributor for the TOYOTA and HINO brands in Sri Lanka and a fully owned subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC), Japan. Hence, we are a global member company of the prestigious Toyota Group, Japan.
Embracing the traditions and passing it on to future generations, while reaching global destinations, Toyota Lanka is the only automobile company in the country to be 100% owned by its true Japanese ‘parent’ company, the Toyota Group. This global backing makes Toyota Lanka a truly global corporate entity, contributing to its customers, corporates, society and country.
Established in 1995, we pioneered the automobile integrator concept and the pursuit of bringing in automobile sales, servicing and spare-parts all under one-roof, introducing the first ever ‘one-stop-shop’ auto business model in the country.
Today, Toyota Lanka continues to expand and grow, reaching customers across diverse boundaries and limits. Since 1995, Toyota Lanka has brought about total mobility solutions in Passenger Cars, Commercial Vehicles, Trucks and the Sports Utility Vehicles segments and the Industrial Equipment sector.
In doing so, Toyota Lanka always strives to bring total ‘customer delight experiences’, above & beyond the conventional customer service, taking it to a whole new level. With high quality products, localized and country suited automobiles, combined with the high standards in ‘customer delight’ services, which have raised our customer-centric offerings at each customer touch point, enabling us to provide ‘total transport mobility solutions, to both the corporate and individual customers of this country’.
Currently, the company is on a continuous and ambitious growth plan, with a rapid expansion strategy in our business verticals. Over the years and since its establishment in 1995, Toyota Lanka has established its presence in all major cities across the island, with key branches in Ratmalana, Maharagama, Negombo and Kurunegala.
To cater to all spare-parts, lubricants and car-care requirements, the branch network and service centres also span far and wide, with operations in Panchikawatte, Kandy, Galle, Kalutara, Ampara, Nugegoda, Gampaha, Kalutara, Anuradhapura and Negombo, along with the Toyota Lanka Authorized Service Stations (TLASS), island wide. This enables us to provide effective breakdown services to our customers – no matter where they are and at anytime.
The new Mercedes EQA is on sale in the UK now, and Mercedes has confirmed that two versions of its all-electric compact SUV are available, with prices starting from £40,495 after the £3,000 government plug-in car grant.
It’s the first compact premium electric crossover on the European market – competitors from Audi and BMW are still years away from production, and the Tesla Model Y has not yet landed on the continent. Mercedes hopes it will steal a march on its rivals by diving into the segment first
From launch, Mercedes will only offer a single powertrain and battery combination, dubbed the EQA 250. The set-up comprises a 66.5kWh (useable) battery pack and a single electric motor mounted on the front axle, for a combined output of 188bhp and 375Nm of torque.
Mercedes says the EQA 250 will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds and hit a top speed of 99mph. The entry-level model will also have a maximum range of 263 miles, according to WLTP testing.
The launch line-up comprises an EQA 250 Sport model and an EQA 250 AMG Line version, priced from £40,495 and £41,995 respectively.
Standard equipment on the EQA 250 Sport includes 18-inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, comfort suspension, LED headlights, cruise control, lane-keep assist, blind spot assist, parking assist, and the EQA’s dual 10-inch infotainment system; one screen is used for the digital instrument panel alongside another central infotainment unit with touchscreen input, navigation and smartphone connectivity.
An 11kW AC on-board charger is combined with 100kW DC capability. Heated electrically adjustable front seats are standard, and buyers can choose from two ARTICO man-made leather upholstery options.
The EQA 250 AMG Line gets a sporty looking AMG bodykit and new-look 18-inch five-spoke wheels, while inside it gains AMG sports seats, aluminium dashboard trim, a sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals. However, beneath the sporty makeover, equipment levels and technical specifications remain exactly as you’ll find on the EQA 250 Sport.
AMG Line versions are available with several options packages though, including the £3,000 Premium Package. This adds a panoramic glass sunroof, 19-inch wheels and full keyless operation.
The Premium Plus package sits above this and is priced from £6,000. This includes the keyless go and panoramic sunroof, but adds 20-inch multi spoke diamond cut wheels, electronically controlled adaptive dampers, a 360-degree top down camera, a Burmeister sound system and a head-up-display.
Both models are offered with an advanced driver assistance package with semi-autonomous driving functions (£1,495) and a tow bar with a towing stabilisation mode for the ESP too, priced from £750.